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5E Never Give Them Unlimited Black Powder


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Aelryinth

Explorer
why can't Barbarians or Orcs have alchemy skill? If your anal about rules then a half Orc alchemist who lives with the orc tribe. Orcs could capture an Alchemist and use him. One Treant would get a chance to bat away the kegs. Two Unless the players have high skill in siege engines how are the acurateally throwing the barrells? and What are the Elve's and other Treeant's going to do when you start blowing up Treants? Forests usually have lots of Treants. they are slow to act but a month later they may come out of the forest when the PC's arent there and rip thier city completely apart.

If your fiends aren't smartly using every single thing they can against the players you arent' playing them right. Or even without alchemy all the enemy needs to know is fire burns gunpowder. Shaman summons fire elemental during battle . Boom. also mideivel black powder is not like the modern stuff. It should just fail to burn periodically. If it get wet you can't dry it out and then use it. A lot of undead are intelligent and formerly living . In a world with gun powder some magical beasts will know what it is. And seriously how do you throw a keg of gunpowder without it breaking and scattering the Gunpowder all over the ground just the act of picking it up and hurling it might crack it enough that the powder would start to come out and then no big boom? two an exploding keg of gunpowder wouldn't have a big blast radius and flying pieces of wood would suck but not be grape shot or cannonballs.


And as far as alchmist and production that's when enemies send assasains or teleporting mages to capture them and start thier own production. Or even more simply Some smart guy watches party makes his own factory if its that easy maybe a dozen factories and starts selling gunpowder in bulk to everyone one and the players now have to deal with Orc's, Goblins and other PC's that can buy or steal gunpowder and use it against them. That's how technology advances one guy gets a temporary advantage and then someone else runs with it.

My favorite idea off the cuff though would be to send in water elementals, or if the game is high enough level some elven druid may just say enough and call a hurricane in on thier factory, and city.
You are once again missing the forest for the trees.
A barbaric savage orc tribe won't have alchemists because they are barbaric savages without education, the same way they won't have a chemist or physicist or likely a wizard. I used BARBARIC and SAVAGE for a reason. Alchemy is a civilized thing.
Now, if MY ORCS ARE DIFFERENT, that's fine, but I'm using a trope, and you're trying to change the trope. Savage, uneducated tribes of humanoids won't have alchemy and gunpowder, any more then viking raiders did. Low tech, low education, no production.

PC's can figure out all kinds of ways to throw the kegs.

Treat hits the burning keg, it explodes and blows up. Not a solution.

Substitute fireball for kegs in your killing treants and elves, and you can see you missed the point again. Dead foes don't know how to guard against stuff. You are instantly turning it into DM Fiat arbitrary consequences. Those 'examples' are meta-game events which would occur if you were killing treants and elves, they have nothing to do with using gunpowder to do so, so you're making false examples.

Fiends don't have alchemy skills, and most of them are brutes, not clever masterminds. They don't have the mindset to use such crutches. -- There, see, I shot down your false example as easily as you set it up. I've never seen a fiend using gunpowder or guns, even though both are available in Pathfinder, and presumably in the Abyss. Not reliable against other fiends is my guess... plus Fiends don't normally have Alchemy to make the stuff.

Arbitrary 'this don't work' is arbitrary. You're talking a trained and experienced alchemist, not a medieval chemist. The stuff works, and works reliably. You might as well implement rules for 10% spell miscasts because medieval, and Weapon Breaks on 1 because Medieval, then.

SOME undead are intelligent. MOST undead never used guns or gunpowder, and don't have the alchemy to make it. Go look at the stat blocks. Not every undead is a lich or vampire, and unless they died as gunmen, they aren't proficient in using gunpowder weapons, either. You are once again ALTERING THE GAME to stop gunpowder use. It's also a trope that undead don't really learn new stuff. They are dead, after all. Even the vampires cling to the pageantry of their time, and don't adjust to new eras.

DM Fiat: Now kegs don't work like the game says. Oooookay.

90%+ of the enemies PC's fight don't have the wherewithal to send assassins or teleporting mages, and the latter is a VERY high level ploy. Again, the argument has nothing to do with gunpowder, it just has to do with violent PC's and consequences. Substitute 'fireball' for gunpowder, or 'chopping greatsword' in the hands of a skilled fighter, and your 'argument' is the exact same thing - a DM Fiat metagamey thing.

If the high level elven druid wants to send in water elementals or drown a city, gunpowder has crap to do with that, too.

If the orcs and goblins want to get alchemy in the future, that doesn't help them NOW, when the PC's are killing them. "After the end of the campaign, the goblins and orcs realize they can't be barbarians anymore, and start settling in and developing an education system and technology, stealing what they can, and in a generation or three, start making stuff of their own" doesn't help right now.

Metagamey DM Fiat is Metagamey DM Fiat that has nothing to do with actually using gunpowder now.
 

Aelryinth

Explorer
or thieves guild captures one of your alchemists sends in a disguised rogue, lights a fire, set's a bomb whatever and BOOM no bunker buster needed.
Or theives guilds captures a mage/soldier, sends in a disguised rogue, sets off a bomb, and BOOM, there goes your spellbook/barracks of troops, no bunker buster needed.

Nothing to do with gunpowder, moving along...
 

Aelryinth

Explorer
Or invisible rogue ties himself to tree shoots arrow into bag of holding, Party takes a looong trip far away. Courtesy of whichever rich enemy just paid for it.
And loses all their magical gear and gold to DM Fiat. No, no, the PC's won't see it for the asshattery it is, not at all. Especially when they've taken precautions with it and the DM says it happens anyways, pretends to roll a die that can't miss, and so it does.
But if they didn't use gunpowder, and just used rote alchemical fire or fireball spells, certainly that wouldn't happen, right?
 

David Howery

Adventurer
in one FR campaign I ran, I introduced the equivalent of flintlock horse pistols. Just to simplify everything, I had the ammo for it sold in pre-made cartridges'... basically, the equivalent of those linen cartridges they used way back in Ye Olden Days. That way I didn't have to bother with rules for measuring out powder, etc. The PCs never bothered with trying to buy loose powder; they might not have thought of it, usually because they were too busy focusing on what the quest of the day was...
 

You are once again missing the forest for the trees.
Isn't the idea to hit the trees? Or at least the moving ones? :unsure:

PC's can figure out all kinds of ways to throw the kegs.
Yes, but each takes resources or has limitations. These kegs are heavier than shot-put balls so most of the options are going to be risky, use resources (spells), or hard to apply against individual creatures (siege weaponry).

Treat hits the burning keg, it explodes and blows up. Not a solution.
It could just pick it up and throw it back. Setting fire to a keg isn't going to detonate it: you need to try to create a fuse or use something like a high-end firebolt spell to pierce it and ignite the contents. Either way, timing will be tricky and treants are quite intelligent.

Substitute fireball for kegs in your killing treants and elves, and you can see you missed the point again. Dead foes don't know how to guard against stuff. You are instantly turning it into DM Fiat arbitrary consequences. Those 'examples' are meta-game events which would occur if you were killing treants and elves, they have nothing to do with using gunpowder to do so, so you're making false examples.
I mean substituting fireballs does beg the question of why you are using gunpowder kegs.
That is five months of work and 675 gold to do something that two fireballs would also do.
 

Aelryinth

Explorer
Isn't the idea to hit the trees? Or at least the moving ones? :unsure:

Yes, but each takes resources or has limitations. These kegs are heavier than shot-put balls so most of the options are going to be risky, use resources (spells), or hard to apply against individual creatures (siege weaponry).

It could just pick it up and throw it back. Setting fire to a keg isn't going to detonate it: you need to try to create a fuse or use something like a high-end firebolt spell to pierce it and ignite the contents. Either way, timing will be tricky and treants are quite intelligent.

I mean substituting fireballs does beg the question of why you are using gunpowder kegs.
That is five months of work and 675 gold to do something that two fireballs would also do.
You're answering my posts in a vacuum, not in the context to which I'm replying to Nevin. You just changed my reply to his Treants suddenly being able to bat kegs out of the air to a statement that the kegs couldn't be thrown in the first place? The Heck?

Substituting fireballs wasn't a question of time and resources. If you're not a spellcaster, those months of work and time put in are worth it. Substituting Fireballs was there to illustrate that all of his statements were invalid as an anti-gunpowder argument, because they applied equally to using fireballs instead!

And as I pointed out above, five man-months of work starts shrinking quickly with the right tools, magic items, assistants, and higher skill checks.
 

You're answering my posts in a vacuum, not in the context to which I'm replying to Nevin. You just changed my reply to his Treants suddenly being able to bat kegs out of the air to a statement that the kegs couldn't be thrown in the first place? The Heck?
Sorry for the confusion. I was responding to you directly. Feel free to substitute "catch or pick up, and throw back" for the treant's likely response to having a keg thrown at it, if that makes my suggestion easier to understand.

Substituting fireballs wasn't a question of time and resources. If you're not a spellcaster, those months of work and time put in are worth it. Substituting Fireballs was there to illustrate that all of his statements were invalid as an anti-gunpowder argument, because they applied equally to using fireballs instead!
Ah I see.

And as I pointed out above, five man-months of work starts shrinking quickly with the right tools, magic items, assistants, and higher skill checks.
Assistants let you split the workload, but its still five man-months. (Might be less using Xanathars: I think that that changed downtime crafting, but I can't remember the exact details).
Where are you getting the stuff about magic items and higher skill checks? DM houserules?
 

Azzy

Newtype
They can't do the same thing because a) a huge portion of your foes are not intelligent, they are literally monsters...
b) a huge portion of your foes don't have access to alchemy labs...
c) a huge portion of your foes don't have the alchemy skill...
d) they may or may not have the money to acquire the gunpowder...
e) if they don't know how to deal with gunpowder, and a lot of them won't, the PC's certainly do, so all those 'faults' of the gunpowder are stuff they know they can use against the enemy...
f) the power in gunpowder isn't how you can throw six kegs at an enemy, really. It's about how you can have the kegs in place to drop down on or blow apart enemies...
g) spending one fifth level spell to take out an entire encounter is a WONDERFUL use of a fifth level spell, not a waste of it. You think casting cone of cold or summon monster V is better?...

This is not like cyberpunk, where you are basically fighting clones of yourselves. D&D is full of monsters and beings that have no business with gunpowder/blackpowder/smoke powder/whatever Ovinomancer wants to call it. They are not the same games!

If your D&D is all PC against NPC, sure, gunpowder potentially goes both ways. What about barbaric orcs and goblins, with no alchemy skills or labs? What about dragons? Giants? Hydras? the vast majority of undead? Do fiends ever bother with it? What about magical beasts, plants, most monstrous humanoids, aberrations, oozes? Are they all suddenly going to be equipped with gunpowder kegs, too?

Toss three kegs at a treant, it's dead, never gets to learn how to counteract the kegs, how's it going to learn to do so? Same goes for the majority of monsters.

It's not the same game as Cyberpunk whatsoever. While some NPC's are a significant fraction of what you fight, they aren't ALL your enemies.

You certainly missed/ignored a lot of my points, like say having creatures that have equally deadly abilities, resistances/immunities.

But why wouldn't goblins or orcs have alchemy skills or tools (they are not all stupid)? In a setting where gunpowder is common enough that PCs can hoard it, it's going to be fairly common knowledge and if humanoids can't make it, they can trade for or steal it. And any intelligent creature that has contact with cultures that have ready access to gunpowder will know what it does, how it is used, how to react to it, how to defend against it, etc. Even less intelligent animals can change and adapt their behavior in response to encounters with people with gunpowder or other commonly used tactics and tools (as has happened in the real world). Dragons? They don't need gunpowder. Giants? Aside from hill giants, most are pretty savvy. Hydras? Screw 'em—there are going to be monsters that are vulnerable to various tactics (and if they are using these kind of resources on these sort of monsters, they aren't using them against other foes). Undead, many of them are intelligent and/or have resistances/immunities. Many monsters won't even require gunpowder as they already have abilities that are comparable or more deadly. Never mind the fact that as the PCs level up, they are going to fight monsters that are less and less impressed with their keg parties.

Also, monsters don't need to have the same tricks to stay on and even footing of your proposed scenario (that doesn't even accurately reflect the rules for gunpowder and ignores several facets of the rules). D&D monsters have access to abilities that Cyberpunk (or other games that include explosives) don't, so D&D is on a better footing.

You're the DM—you control what they have access to, what monsters and adventures they face, how much downtime and materials they have, etc. If they want to escalate things, then rise to the challenge of providing them with more challenging encounters and throw nastier critters, adjust the amount of XP the get (if an encounter is less challenging, it's worth less experience), etc.. Or you could talk to the players (heresy, I know) and tell them you find it obnoxious. There are so many ways to address the issue.

As for the production time, there are tools and stuff for making alchemical stuff faster, and you can just have multiple alchemists/PC's working on the stuff during downtime. It's just a skill check, nothing else, and production can be accelerated or scaled up by hiring a few more alchemists happy for the steady job.

There are tools and such for making alchemical stuff faster? Like what? And do, as the DM, just let them have access to them? Sure, you can have multiple PCs craft stuff (if multiple PCs actually have proficiency with alchemicst's tools), but they still need access to tools and materials, neither of which are infinite in availability. Are the tools and materials commercially available? If so, in what quantity and at what price. If not, then the PCs will have to go out and find them for themselves (which, in turn, can be its own adventure). As far as skill checks go, you set the DC, failed checks still use up resources, and failure may have consequence given that they are working with a volatile substance (possibly blowing up or catching the lab on fire on a roll that fails by 5 or on a roll of a natural 1). Given that the rules do not specifically cover the crafting of gunpowder or other explosives, there's a lot of room for the DM make rulings on how it works (you may even require a new, separate tool proficiency for creating gunpowder than alchemist's tools). You also control how much downtime that the PCs have—remember, it takes five work weeks to create 1 keg's worth of gunpowder. And what are people in the PC's community thinking about these gunpowder hoarders—authorities might suspect them of plotting treason and have them arrester and their gunpowder stores confiscated or detonated.

There are a ton of ways to handle these scenarios, you just have to learn how to do so and adapt.
 

Azzy

Newtype
You are once again missing the forest for the trees.
A barbaric savage orc tribe won't have alchemists because they are barbaric savages without education, the same way they won't have a chemist or physicist or likely a wizard. I used BARBARIC and SAVAGE for a reason. Alchemy is a civilized thing.
Now, if MY ORCS ARE DIFFERENT, that's fine, but I'm using a trope, and you're trying to change the trope. Savage, uneducated tribes of humanoids won't have alchemy and gunpowder, any more then viking raiders did. Low tech, low education, no production.
Oh? You do know that "barbaric" and "savage" humans in the real world had their own alchemists (as this would be part of a shaman/priest's repertoire).
 

A barbaric savage orc tribe won't have alchemists because they are barbaric savages without education, the same way they won't have a chemist or physicist or likely a wizard. I used BARBARIC and SAVAGE for a reason. Alchemy is a civilized thing.
Debatable.

More than likely the orcs would have an alchemist-type who's good at brewing potions and what-not to, y'know, heal folks. They have education for that, stuff that's been passed down from previous knowledge about what stuff is good to use for that

And alchemy being a civilised thing is.... Well, debatable. It certainly did discover stuff, sure, but also involved a whole lot of folks looking at their piss
 

Aelryinth

Explorer
Oh? You do know that "barbaric" and "savage" humans in the real world had their own alchemists (as this would be part of a shaman/priest's repertoire).
No, a shaman's shtick would be herb lore. That's a huge difference from true alchemy, falling under the healer shtick for the most part.
 

Aelryinth

Explorer
Debatable.

More than likely the orcs would have an alchemist-type who's good at brewing potions and what-not to, y'know, heal folks. They have education for that, stuff that's been passed down from previous knowledge about what stuff is good to use for that

And alchemy being a civilised thing is.... Well, debatable. It certainly did discover stuff, sure, but also involved a whole lot of folks looking at their piss
As I just quoted, that's herblore, which usually falls under the heal skill, not alchemy, which is a whole higher order of business.
 

Aelryinth

Explorer
You certainly missed/ignored a lot of my points, like say having creatures that have equally deadly abilities, resistances/immunities.

But why wouldn't goblins or orcs have alchemy skills or tools (they are not all stupid)? In a setting where gunpowder is common enough that PCs can hoard it, it's going to be fairly common knowledge and if humanoids can't make it, they can trade for or steal it. And any intelligent creature that has contact with cultures that have ready access to gunpowder will know what it does, how it is used, how to react to it, how to defend against it, etc. Even less intelligent animals can change and adapt their behavior in response to encounters with people with gunpowder or other commonly used tactics and tools (as has happened in the real world). Dragons? They don't need gunpowder. Giants? Aside from hill giants, most are pretty savvy. Hydras? Screw 'em—there are going to be monsters that are vulnerable to various tactics (and if they are using these kind of resources on these sort of monsters, they aren't using them against other foes). Undead, many of them are intelligent and/or have resistances/immunities. Many monsters won't even require gunpowder as they already have abilities that are comparable or more deadly. Never mind the fact that as the PCs level up, they are going to fight monsters that are less and less impressed with their keg parties.

Also, monsters don't need to have the same tricks to stay on and even footing of your proposed scenario (that doesn't even accurately reflect the rules for gunpowder and ignores several facets of the rules). D&D monsters have access to abilities that Cyberpunk (or other games that include explosives) don't, so D&D is on a better footing.

You're the DM—you control what they have access to, what monsters and adventures they face, how much downtime and materials they have, etc. If they want to escalate things, then rise to the challenge of providing them with more challenging encounters and throw nastier critters, adjust the amount of XP the get (if an encounter is less challenging, it's worth less experience), etc.. Or you could talk to the players (heresy, I know) and tell them you find it obnoxious. There are so many ways to address the issue.



There are tools and such for making alchemical stuff faster? Like what? And do, as the DM, just let them have access to them? Sure, you can have multiple PCs craft stuff (if multiple PCs actually have proficiency with alchemicst's tools), but they still need access to tools and materials, neither of which are infinite in availability. Are the tools and materials commercially available? If so, in what quantity and at what price. If not, then the PCs will have to go out and find them for themselves (which, in turn, can be its own adventure). As far as skill checks go, you set the DC, failed checks still use up resources, and failure may have consequence given that they are working with a volatile substance (possibly blowing up or catching the lab on fire on a roll that fails by 5 or on a roll of a natural 1). Given that the rules do not specifically cover the crafting of gunpowder or other explosives, there's a lot of room for the DM make rulings on how it works (you may even require a new, separate tool proficiency for creating gunpowder than alchemist's tools). You also control how much downtime that the PCs have—remember, it takes five work weeks to create 1 keg's worth of gunpowder. And what are people in the PC's community thinking about these gunpowder hoarders—authorities might suspect them of plotting treason and have them arrester and their gunpowder stores confiscated or detonated.

There are a ton of ways to handle these scenarios, you just have to learn how to do so and adapt.
The vast majority of monsters are not immune to gunpowder. that's a fact. The vast number by type are also not going to USE gunpowder, unless you're playing a primary-humanoids campaigns. In short, you're now talking about changing the monsters so gunpowder is useless as a fix...

Then suddenly this stuff they jump through hoops being able to make is now available to creatures that live at the level of medieval vikings or Native Americans before the Europeans came. Okie-dokie. Instant civilizing and educational systems, OR, suddenly this hard to make and procure stuff is now being sold to the enemies of the PC's, and all humanity, by unknown parties.

So, these examples aren't selling it to me.

The supplies are, by default, assumed to be available in most larger settlements, and are certainly within the price range of them.
Your restricting that supply is now making house rules. Just be aware you are doing it.

Gunpowder hoarders are far less dangerous then fireball casting wizards walking around the streets, but if you want to be DM Arbitrary about the threat levels, go right ahead.

You need one rank to assist in helping with alchemy in 3e/Pathfinder. NPC's can do most of the work. Referring to 3e rules, higher skill targets for the DC enable you to make more stuff. There are also magical tools that greatly accelerate making alchemical items, as well as that old game breaker, Fabricate.

As Create Wondrous Items is one of the most popular of feats, making your own tools isn't hard, and they pay for themselves VERY quickly. Artificially not letting them is again a DM Fiat ruling.

Alchemist Classes also generally can make alchemical items far quicker than normal people, too. They usually have it baked right into the class.
 
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As I just quoted, that's herblore, which usually falls under the heal skill, not alchemy, which is a whole higher order of business.
It involves brewing and making potions, which 15+ years of Warcraft tells me fits under "alchemy" so, gotta nope on your definition this fits under some 'heal' skill

I think the problem herein is 'alchemy' is a wide definition and your definition is at odds as to what mine is.
 

Aelryinth

Explorer
Brewing potions is brewing potions. It has the same relation to alchemy that crafting magic arms and armor does to making the arms and armor in the first place, but making liquids in a holder is NOT exclusive to alchemy. A cook, brewer, and herbalist could all do the same thing, without any use of alchemy. The definition of alchemy for D&D is that alchemy is quasi-magical, but Potions are magical, period.

Alchemical healing stuff is generally MUCH less effective than potions, which are basically spells in a can.

Without the feat in D&D, alchemists can't make Potions for others. But anyone can make any of the various alchemical products with the right skill check, most of which don't have much to do with herb lore (alchemical fire/frost/lightning, tindertwigs, smoke bombs, thunderstones, etc.).
 


Aelryinth

Explorer
More like the sapper suddenly finding out his uncivilized savages living in wooden walled settlements at best developed deep-footed stone walls overnight, are tossing alchemical fire down on him, are all resistant to fire, and suddenly his mines have a 50% misfire chance that wasn't there before, because the DM didn't like how he took out the walls of the last settlement.
 

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